EDGE Home Page

Previous EDGE

(This Issue)


Classroom Technology on YouTube
by Jeff Clark

A couple weeks ago I saw a segment on the PBS Charlie Rose show, in which he interviewed YouTube’s co-founders. The phenomenally successful YouTube, of course, is a social web site that allows users to upload, view, and share video clips. It was founded in February, 2005.

I suddenly thought: Why not use YouTube as a platform for “mini-videos” on our services in Media Resources? A platform that we don’t even have to manage ourselves—just shoot and edit the video, then put it up (or take it down) as we need to?

So within the next week, Media Resources launched an experiment using YouTube to deliver an orientation video to our faculty who teach in our technology classrooms. Using our miniDV camcorders from Equipment Loans, we shot video footage in one day, then edited it over the next few. The earliest version of this instructional mini-video was loaded onto YouTube during new faculty orientation on August 21, though we updated it a bit by the end of that week.

Screen shot of CT training video with Olen SironWhy do this? The start of fall semester allows little time for faculty to attend in-person orientations, and it can be time-consuming for our Classroom Technology staff to cover the most basic questions one-on-one as the semester advances. A short video on how to use a classroom teaching system seems to fill a real need. Later this year, we expect to do more polished videos for the different types of teaching systems in the Technology Classrooms.

The YT player is embedded in our web page so that users won't actually have to go to the YouTube web site for the video.  From the JMU Libraries home page, you can use the "Quick Links" pull-down menu, choose "Technology Classrooms," and then click on the link for "Teaching System Video."

One wrinkle for the time being is that the desktop image in Tech Classrooms themselves will need to be tweaked this semester before the video will play in Internet Explorer. It works fine in Firefox, and probably in either browser from workstations most anywhere else. If you’ve viewed YouTube video before, though, you’ll know that it plays best at cable modem connection speed or better. In this respect, our YT videos have a similar technical requirement as our “online video collection” (you can see what’s in that collection by using the “Special LEO List” for “Online Videos” on the JMU Library Catalog home page). But the YT video does not require you to log in with your eID and password--just play it as needed.  

Initial concerns about this project I had were these.  Is there anything in YouTube's user policy that would conflict with what we wanted to do? How can we avoid a JMU viewer being crowded by advertisements?  Could there be a potential public relations issue having such mini-videos identified with JMU. Or could there be a potential nuisance because we shared staff and service contact information to casual non-JMU viewers on YouTube? But there proved to be no problem with YT use policy. Furthermore, using the embedded player, placing service information only on the url above, carefully avoiding JMU-identifying specifics in the video itself, and setting up a generic YouTube account to post the video, all seemed to resolve these issues favorably. 

In closing, my thanks to the staff involved once I raised this idea. Patti Williams ably managed the script outline and the web page, Olen Siron delivered a winning performance in front of the camera (but then he's good at live orientations, too), and Bryan DeWitt worked his own magic behind the camera and in the editing software. For those who may be interested, Bryan is a creative videographer on his own, and you can find his short films on YouTube under "thetoober.

Now, let me ask you… what other Media Resources service topics would you like to see short videos on? All suggestions are welcome!


E-mail comments and questions to:

Copyright ©2005. JMU Libraries.
All rights reserved.